My 46 gallon bowfront foray - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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My 46 gallon bowfront foray

I'm in the final (I hope anyway) stages of planning my tank. I have been about to get the equipment and substrate all gathered and ready to go. It is:

- 46 gallon bow front tank. Already have fish, silk plants and gravel (the epoxy coated stuff) in it that I will need to deal with.
- 1x96 AHSupply light (bought the kit and built the light box this weekend).
- Shultz Aquasoil Substrate. I have this soaking in a couple five gallon buckets between rinses to try and get the ammonia under control before I start.

Plan for plants. I'm hoping for some feedback on my plan. I have gone through several revisions and I think this is what I will go with. Please provide feedback on the plan selection. I'm trying for the "V" shaped design with the drift wood in the middle'ish area with the anubus nana on it.

I'm specifically looking for feedback on the ground cover. I have both HC and Marsilea in the plan today. Not sure if I'll keep both. I've read a lot on HC and many say it will work in my setup and many say it wont.

I'm planning on getting my plants from www.aquariumplants.com as they grow them all immersed and I hope that will help with the initial transition.

Comments please.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 03:39 AM
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I have a nano I'm working on with HC (growing emersed), and a 46G bowfront in my living room. I wish you the best of luck but the amount of HC you'll need and/or the amount of time you'll need for spreading and growth is going to be SIGNIFICANT.

I currently am using Eco-Complete in my 46G so HC is out of the question (grain size way too big), and my MM is thriving but by no means taking over. Short of removing it from the substrate and examining the roots and shoots closely, it does not appear to have grown much since I put it in about 6 months ago.

Your 96W will be stronger than my 78W, but 18 inches is still a major hike for light to travel to your groundcover. You definitely got the right idea starting emersed.

What is this epoxy coated gravel you're referring to?

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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The gravel is just the cheapo Top Fin aquarium gravel sold at PetSmart. It has worked great for just fish and silk plants. But would not hold plants very well so it will be getting replaced with the Shultz Aquasoil.

thanks,
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 11:24 AM
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Sounds like a good upgrade to make. For 46G you'll want 60-100 pounds depending on your preference for depth and gradation.

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 01:43 PM
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lovingHDTV,

Rather than using Shultz Aquasoil look again at Petsmart and see if they have bags of small grain (approx 2mm approx 1/8inch) natural (uncoated) gravel. I've used that in the past with pretty good success. The Shultz aquasoil is fairly light and won't do a very good job of keeping your plants down. Every time I've used it I've had to mix it with something heavier to keep my plants from floating away.

To be honest, if you're going to spend the kind of money you'll need to for the HC you may as well spend the money on a high quality substrate such as Eco Complete, FloraBase, or Flourite. Believe me, you'll be thankful you did many months from now.

Regards,
Phil

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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Last edited by Phil Edwards; 10-27-2008 at 03:44 PM.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Edwards View Post
To be honest, if you're going to spend the kind of money you'll need to for the HC you may as well spend the money on a high quality substrate such as Eco Complete, FloraBase, or Flourite. Believe me, you'll be thankful you did many months from now.

Regards,
Phil
I myself went with Eco-Complete for my 46G and if I were to do it again, I'd pick something with a farrrr finer grain. Maybe I just got a bad batch but after reading rave things about in here on this forum, I was pretty dissapointed with it.

The grain size varies wildly, with the average size being about the same size and shape as a leaf of dwarf HC. The dust/dirt portion of it is great but mixed in are chunks pea-sized to dime-sized. This blows because it makes holding down smaller plants (HC & MM) extremely difficult. As I stated earlier in this thread, I'm having some success with the MM but in my opinion - you'll never get HC to stay in Eco-Complete. Emersed it'll grow, but once you add water, fish and a current, you'll constantly be replanting floaters.

Phil is definitely right on the money with spending money for 'the good stuff'. You certainly don't want to have any regrets and end up swapping out your substrate for something else in 6 months...it's a major ordeal!!

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 03:43 PM
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I've got HC growing in Aquasoil Amazonia in two tanks and have had success with it staying down and growing in RedSea's FloraBase, which is basically cheaper AS Amazonia. I got it to stay down in Flourite but I pestered it too much and killed it.

The best trick I've found for planting the stuff it to buy it by the pot and trim the bottom 1/4 of the rockwool off to stimulate new root growth and just shove it all into the substrate. You'll get some die-off and initial algae growth as the nutrients in the rockwool leach out but after a week or so you'll be seeing new growth. This stuff is slow growing, for sure! The best part about keeping it in the rockwool is you'll be able to chop the portion up into smaller bits that stay together. I've halved and quartered pots of the stuff without having to worry about the small portions falling apart as I plant them. That works particularly well for larger grained substrates such as Flourite and possibly EcoComplete.

Regards,
Phil

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Edwards View Post
The best trick I've found for planting the stuff it to buy it by the pot and trim the bottom 1/4 of the rockwool off to stimulate new root growth and just shove it all into the substrate. You'll get some die-off and initial algae growth as the nutrients in the rockwool leach out but after a week or so you'll be seeing new growth. This stuff is slow growing, for sure! The best part about keeping it in the rockwool is you'll be able to chop the portion up into smaller bits that stay together. I've halved and quartered pots of the stuff without having to worry about the small portions falling apart as I plant them. That works particularly well for larger grained substrates such as Flourite and possibly EcoComplete.

Regards,
Phil
I second this recommendation!

Loving HDTV: have you looked into/researched anyone else growing HC at such a significant depth under 96W?

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welchrock View Post
I second this recommendation!

Loving HDTV: have you looked into/researched anyone else growing HC at such a significant depth under 96W?
No I have not. This is why I'm interested in knowing how it will work. If there is little chance for it to be successful I'd rather go with something else. I like the small leaf of the HC, but not if it just dies

What other suggestions for carpeting that would work better?

thanks,
dave
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 08:56 PM
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If you are going to buy your plants from aquariumplants.com, I have heard their substrate is pretty good. You can buy it by the 5 gal pails and it is a fairly decent price. I don't know how grainy it is, but if you call them they are very friendly and will answer any questions you have. Just thought I would throw that out.

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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 01:36 AM
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LovingHDTV - this is turning into an interesting thread. Keep us posted!

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingHDTV View Post

What other suggestions for carpeting that would work better?

thanks,
dave

i'll let/hope someone else more experienced than i cuts in here, but from my standpoint i don't think any true groundcover plant will grow at a depth of 18 inches, under 96W and with no C02 (although you may be planning on adding this and just haven't mentioned it).

the only way I can see you having much luck with your current parameters and wishes for MM/HC groundcover is for some combination of the following:

top of the line substrate
growing tank emersed for a LOT of time (3, 6 or even 6+ months)
potentially upgrading your light and/or injection C02 once you were to fill your tank with water.

As for more readily-growable groundcover - you might want to consider some sort of moss. You could have a thick lush carpet of java moss or similar covering a lot of space within a month or so. If you were to go this route, you'd want to design a way to have it growing out of an anchored mesh screen.

Groundcover is a tough one - definitely do a search on here to see what other's have to say.

In my experiences, the two plants you're looking at are going to give you some difficulties:
- HC looks awesome but I can't imagine trying to grow a significant amount in a 46G.
- MM sends out runners so far away from each plantlet that it is tough to get it to act and true groundcover. It creeps along the ground more than spreading out over-top of it. Hard to explain but I can certainly send you some pictures if you like.

46G Bowfront:

Lighting: 78 Watts T5HO (1.7 watts per gallon)

Substrate: 80 lbs Eco-Complete.

--------------------------

5.5 Gallon ADA Nano: Fish need to be restocked.

Plants: Background of Marsilea Minuta, Myrio Simulan and a random Anubia.

Lighting: 13W 6500K Jebo.

Heating: Non-Brand Name 100W 8" glass heater (sounds crazy but great heater)

Substrate: Pond soil from a landscaping store; 1/2 inch of Eco-Complete on top.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered my driftwood and a plant package from aquariumplants. The driftwood should get here on Monday, then the plants are arriving on Thursday.

I also got some plants from Snake on the forum here, turns out he is just 3 minutes down the road.

I'll put some pictures of the driftwood when I get it.

I've also had my SAS soaking for a couple weeks. I've not checked the ammonia level in the last week or so, but plan on doing that to see if I have some nitrite/nitrate yet. I put some old filter media in the buckets.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Just tested my SAS.

Ammonia: 8.0
Nitrite: 0.25
Nitrate: 5.0

So I dumped the buckets again and refilled with clean water. It does look like they are finally cycling. I'm glad to see that as I plan on planting the tank on Thursday when I get the rest of my plants.

As for now the plants I have are floating in the tank. They even pearled a little
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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I got my driftwood from aquarium plants yesterday and put it in the tank. I think it may be too big! It is HUGE and fills probably 1/3 of the tank!

I'm willing to go with it for now as the plants arrive today. I'll plant it up and see how it looks before making a final decision, but my initial thoughts are that it is too overbearing.

I'll get a picture of it up today in the tank as is for now to get your feedback. It is a really cool looking piece. Kind of an 'X' shape.
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